I can remember when downtown was like a ghost town after work and on weekends, so I get very excited when it’s humming with people having fun. Such was the case last week when three different events took me there.
The first was Capital Area United Way’s Jambalaya Jam to kick off its 2013 campaign. More than 5,000 people packed into Town Square on Oct. 10 as teams from area companies vied for the bragging rights of best jambalaya — the team from Performance Contractors won — and to win the Community Games trophy — the team from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana took it.
Reigning over the festivities as King Jam was Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who quipped that it must be shortest team in basketball history as he, Mayor Kip Holden, CAUW CEO Darrin Goss, campaign chairman Ralph Bender and CAUW board chairman Scott Berg got together for a photo. Made for nice smiles, though.
United Way reports approximately $75,000 was raised, a 25 percent increase from last year.
‘Wigs, Martinis & Bow Ties’
I was back downtown the following night at the Capitol Welcome Center for La Capitale Chapter of The Links’ “Wigs, Martinis & Bow Ties” fundraiser benefiting Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge.
The evening was dedicated to the late Link Lynn Dickerson, who came up with the idea for the fundraiser. It featured a very tempting silent auction, dancing to the sounds of the Soul Jukebox and yummy nibbles and libations. Most of the women also brought a wig to donate to Cancer Services, which provides them for women undergoing cancer treatment.
I enjoyed visiting with event chairwoman Kimberly LaMotte, chapter president Jacqui Vines and new hubby Leonard Wyatt, Arminta Bolden, Rebecca Cureau, Paula and Dr. Leon Kraft, Pamela Daniel, Paula Clayton, Lois Holden, Lenell Young and, new to Baton Rouge, Laketa Castor. As I was walking out the door, I ran into Collis Temple III, always the gentleman. We laughed about making the rounds.
We laughed even harder when I was leaving my next stop, the Shaw Center for the Arts, and here comes Collis.
He was there to support fellow former LSU basketball standout and current NBA free agent Tyrus Thomas’ newest nonprofit, Tyrus Thomas Inc.
On this night, a group of promising fashion designers, makeup artists and hairstylists were showcasing their talents in the Refined Style runway show to benefit TTI, which was founded in 2009 to help at-risk youth from Thomas’ old neighborhood.
Participating designers included Savannah College of Art & Design student Brianna Micah; LSU Hemline students Britny Dyson, Allaina Ferguson, Goldie Jordan, Travis Mamon, Whitney Sylvain and Brooke Vargas; LSU graduate Tyesha Collins; Joey Reddit, of Grab It Design Studio; Durrell Dupard, of Trouble’s Clothing; and Christina Woods and Deshane Nelson, of Unrivaled. The show was coordinated by Brittany Harris.
Country French Fête
Last Sunday also included a stop at the home of Sandra and Keith Cox for the Charity Ball Association’s annual Country French Fête welcoming six new couples into its ranks.
Introducing the newcomers to the membership was President Jennifer Strasner. The new members include Susan and Warner Delaune, Jan and Rodney King, Missy and Mark Lusco, Marcia and Marc Sanchez, Molly and Ladd Spring and Julie and Brian White.
Assisting the hostess were committee members Margaret Brooksher, Paula Gandy, Carol Gikas, Danelle Hudson, Mia James, Susan Jenkins, Jean Ann LeBlanc, Becky Montes de Oca, Carol Regan, Paula Savoie, Jane Sherman and Susan Talbert.
Signature Chefs Auction
If your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews were all born healthy and to term, offer up a prayer of thanksgiving because a staggering 181 babies are born premature each week here in Louisiana.
Fortunately, supporters of the March of Dimes raised almost $140,000 at its Signature Chefs Auction Oct. 9 at L’Auberge Casino & Hotel. We were all touched by the story of Cole Bourgeois, who was born 15 weeks early weighing a little more than a pound. “We have a son because of the March of Dimes,” mom Brandi Bourgeois told the several hundred guests.
“We’re not a selfish group,” said Mayor Kip Holden, who came to proclaim it March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction Day throughout East Baton Rouge Parish. “We’re a family, and when someone’s in trouble, we ask how can we help … you’ll never walk alone,” the mayor said.
Helping to prove that sentiment was L’Auberge general manager Mickey Parenton, who presented State Director Frankie Robinson with a $10,000 check. L’Auberge employees raised $5,000, which was matched by the company. Several more thousands of dollars were raised in the live auction of chef packages conducted by auctioneer Brian Fourroux and emcee Jay Grymes.
Participating chefs included lead chef Troy Deano, 18 Steak, L’Auberge; Bradley Andries, Stroube’s Seafood & Steaks; Eric Arceneaux, City Club; Leighton Carbo, Sullivan’s steakhouse; Kelley McCann, Galatoire’s Bistro; Colt Patin, Louisiana Culinary Institute; Samantha and Cody Carroll, Hot Tails Restaurant; Gino Sclafani, Ruffino’s Italian Restaurant; Jeff Oliveri and Arlety Estevez, L’Auberge; Ryan André, Le Creolé; Harrison Decker and Stuart Woodman, The Little Village; Chris Nealy, Country Club of Louisiana; and Gabby Loubiere, Brew Ha-Ha.
Committee members for the evening were Melissa Chavis, Linda Clark, Layna Cook, Evinski Davis, Sonia Dubois, Jeanette Eisworth, Jordan Faircloth, Scott Gerhardt, Terrence Ginn, Sheila Hauswald, Gary Hightower, Malinda Hightower, John Hightower, Daniel Jones, Deborah Jones, Kass Kemper, Dr. Angelle Klar, Chris Lewis and Don Lintzen.
Also, Leanne Maples, Michelle Marquess, Lyle Matherne, Jenn Ocken, Stacy Paker, Ken Pastorick, Paula Ponamsky, Doretha Porter, Kristi Richard, Roger Richard, Troy Schmidt, Jamie Seymour, Jennifer Sims, Jim Stalls, Dr. Kimberly Stewart, Brook Thibodeaux, Shalonda Walker, Matthew Wallace and Cynthia Wilkinson.
‘Cocktails & CPR’
The week began with “Cocktails & CPR” honoring members of the American Red Cross Southeast Louisiana Chapter’s Tiffany Circle members Oct. 8 at the Mercedes Benz dealership, sponsor of the gathering along with chef Don Bergeron.
The gals from New Orleans, including CEO Kay Wilkins, were chauffeured up for the celebration, which actually included a CPR demonstration. Welcoming them to Baton Rouge were Diedra Jackson, who sits on the national Tiffany Circle board, and chapter director Bobbi Zaunbrecher.
ARC’s Tiffany Circle is a society of women leaders and philanthropists who invest at least $10,000 annually in their local Red Cross.
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